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       For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Rom. 7:22-25

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Gal 5:16-17

Dear Lord Jesus, though I’m conflict avoidant by nature, and often by choice, in this passage describes one conflict about which I am actually excited. The very fact that there’s a war going on inside of me is a good thing, especially since the combatants are the gospel and my sinful nature. For this means that the outcome of this war has already been decided. The gospel will prevail! Yet I’m not naïve about the “mop-up” operation. Growing in grace is a great privilege; but it sure gets messy and intense, and times.

Lord Jesus, the only reason I now “delight in God’s law” is because the demands of the law drove me to you. I needed a substitute and a great Savior, not a model and a life coach. You perfectly met all the requirements of God’s law for me, and you’ve exhausted his judgment against all my law breaking. This is the good news, indeed.

The messy part of knowing you comes from your commitment to make us like yourself. You’re more committed to getting “heaven” in us than getting us into heaven. At times I wish you’d just glorified me after justifying me. It would’ve been so much easier—to have skipped over the whole sanctification process! But, alas, (and thankfully), your ways are not our ways. But I have great peace in knowing that one Day I will be as loving and as lovely as you; for the Father will complete his work of restoration in each of his children, including me. Until that Day, here’s my prayer.

Free me to grieve the sinfulness of sin—the sinfulness of my sins. Now that I’m no longer guilty or condemned, let me fearlessly see my sins, ruthlessly hate my sins, and quickly repent of my sins. Increase my love for holiness and decrease any sense of self-contempt—which is just a dark form of self-love. Only the gospel can bring me such freedom. Only by seeing more of you, Lord Jesus, will I delight in this journey.

You’re the end of all my “wretchedness,” Paul refers to in this passage. You’re the one who’s rescuing me from this “body of death”—all the effects and residue of the fall, all the trappings of my grave clothes, every semblance of every way I’m not like you. Now that there’s no condemnation for my sin (Rom. 8:1), may I truly love holiness and the process of becoming more like you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for every good thing we have in you, Lord Jesus. So very Amen I pray, in your most powerful and loving name.


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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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